No matter where you live, there are bills in place that establish basic traffic laws. Stop signs, yield signs, and lane markers are recognizable throughout the country. All vehicles are required to follow these laws for the benefit of themselves and others.
Separate laws, however, exist for larger trucks and commercial vehicles. There are additional federal and state laws that regulate what trucking companies, truck drivers, hiring managers, trainer, supervisors, managers, and dispatchers can and cannot do. These laws are in place to save lives.
In Illinois in 2015, there were a total of 11,769 crashes involving tractor trailers, accounting for 38 percent of all motor vehicle accidents in the state. Of those accidents, 9,775 resulted in property damage, 2,284 resulted in injury, and 80 resulted in death. A high percentage of those crashes occurred in urban areas. The laws put in place by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the Department of Transportation (DOT) and Illinois’ Department of Transportation (IDOT) exist to prevent those accidents.
If you’ve been in a truck accident, you have the legal right to attempt to hold the negligent party accountable for their actions. Often times, especially when dealing with trucking companies and their legal teams, it’s a good idea to seek legal representation. Prince Law Firm is prepared to assist you with your case. In order to understand how your case may go, let’s first look at the federal and state trucking regulations.
State and Federal Trucking Regulations
State and federal trucking regulations are in place for the safety of other drivers and travelers on the road. Illinois requires drivers of commercial motor vehicles to meet certain minimum standards when operating on Illinois’ interstates and highways. IDOT issues commercial vehicle registrations, as well as oversize and overweight permits, to ensure the safety of everyone on the road, protect and preserve the integrity of the highways, and to accommodate commercial vehicles.
FMCSA’s trucking regulations establish laws for trucking companies, truck drivers, service hours, drug and alcohol use and testing, the transportation of toxic materials, the transportation of household goods, and the vehicle and vehicle marking requirements. Some of the most important regulations are listed below:
- Trucking companies are required to obtain a high amount of insurance coverage in order to match their higher level of financial responsibility in the event of an accident.
- Truck drivers must be at least 21 years of age, have a valid commercial driver’s license, and be proficient in English.
- A driver may only operate a truck for 11 hours after a 10-hour break.
- After taking a 10-hour break, a driver may not drive more than 14 consecutive hours.
- A driver is only allowed to work 60 to 70 hours in 7 to 8 consecutive days.
A driver can restart the 7 to 9-day work week after having a minimum of 34 hours off.
- A truck is only allowed to be on the road if it has been deemed safe after the FMCSA inspects it on a yearly basis.
- Frequent inspections and repairs must be performed routinely to maintain the integrity of the truck.
- A truck may only carry up to 20,000 pounds per axle.
- The gross weight of any vehicle cannot exceed 80,000 pounds.
Truck drivers and their companies risk serious fines if they violate any of the regulations listed above. For a full list of the FMSCA’s trucking regulations, click here.
Proving Trucking Regulation Violations
Unfortunately, based on the number of truck accidents every year, it’s not uncommon for truckers to violate FMCSA regulations. In order to prove violations were made, you’ll want to consider what actions or inactions caused your accident. Some causes may be:
- Truck driver error
- Truck driver fatigue
- Wide turn accident
- Blindspot accident
- Improperly loaded cargo
- Equipment malfunction
- Negligent truck maintenance
- Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
In order to prove one of the above violations, you’ll need the right evidence. This may be found at the scene of the accident, based on the damage to your vehicle, or based on the location of your injuries. Once you have the evidence, you can compare it to the FMCSA regulations to find out how the truck driver or trucking company can be held liable for their negligence.
If you’ve been injured as a result of a truck driver’s negligence, you deserve compensation for your suffering. Because of the sheer number of complex trucking regulations, an attorney can help you understand and interpret the ones you need to know to support your claim. Our Illinois truck accident attorneys have the experience needed to help you present your best possible case. Contact us today for a free consultation.
How Are Criminal and Civil Jurisdiction Different?